The Winter Sounds :: Runner :: New Music Review

The Winter Sounds :: Runner

Winter is nearing and with it comes both the chill of the weather and the chaotic whir of the holiday season. A new year looms not so far in the distance, as well, causing a type of emotional barametric pressure that can bring on a case of the blues. As much as I am not a summertime girl, I do miss the lightness of those longer days, and the reduction of sun’s rays on my skin can have quite an impact on how I feel inside.

Somewhere in that spin of stress and  the constraint of almost cold (it is Southern California where I reside, after all) I look to my playlists and albums even more than usual to keep me going. The Winter Sounds new album, Runner, feels perfect for the occasion, and not just due to the band’s oh so fitting name, but for the music itself. The songs offered up on this album run the gamut of feeling and movement and sound, forming the perfect companion for my ever-changing, wintertime moods.

The opening number, The Sun Also Rises, reminds me of Sam’s Town era Killers, comparable especially to When We Were Young. There is also a distinct sound that brings back many of the New Wave bands I loved in the 80’s (think The Icicle Works, OMD, The Teardrop Explodes) . This is my initial favorite, the kind of song I am compelled to build a playlist around, as well as start my day with. I have taken up a habit lately of finding a song that becomes the musical equivalent of my first cup of coffee; a song that I will immediately go to at the start of my day, often hitting repeat as many times as necessary, until I feel the haze in my mind begin to clear, and the fogginess of tired eyes subside. This song is definitely my next musical first cup of the day choice.

Don’t Change at All is a gorgeously lush love song, full of longing and hope and the kind of denial that comes from falling too hard for someone. Again, I am reminded of some of my best loved songs from the 80’s, this song fitting in easily right alongside of Inxs’ Don’t Change and Modern English’s I’ll Melt With You. I am half-tempted to close my eyes and weave together a flip-book style homage to romance from my adolescence, splicing together moments like the kiss across the birthday cake in Sixteen Candles, Say Anything’s Lloyd and Diane in the backseat, and Zack carrying Paula out of the factory in An Officer and a Gentleman, with this song playing as soundtrack to the lovestruck images.

I would want to insert a few of my own love moments in there, as well.

More New Wave delights await with another immediate favorite of mine, the song Run From the Wicked. This one is a danceable number, catchy and full of electronic whirs and buzzes, which calls for spinning round more than running away. Some of this song evokes more recent comparisons to Phoenix and Vampire Weekend’s Oxford Comma, especially in the bouncy, effervescent feeling of the song.

Bird on Fire and Everything Wounded Comes Home are whirling their way into fast favorites of mine, as well. Both songs delivering a juxtaposition of melancholy and merriment, a bipolar mood mix to dance to, much in the spirit of the recent tune by the Wombats, Let’s Dance to Joy Division, a delightful sense of sing-a-long irony that is hard to resist.

The album as a whole is just that, chilled emotional heartbeats that both soar and break, flurrying around like a first snowfall, pleading for sun while we skate around all that is wonderful, and terrible, about love. We are all just runners in this winter chilled musical “wound“erland of sound.

The Sun Also Rises :: The Winter Sounds

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